Keeping Ebola at bay

The Business Times
View From The Top
Published: 27th Oct 2014

How can Asia keep scourges like the Ebola epidemic at bay in today’s age of global travel?

GIVEN the greater mobility and accessibility across the globe via air travel, no country – and no one, for that matter – is immune to the transmigration of diseases. Thus, airport-screening, being the first point of contact, should be thorough. The bigger and more advanced countries cannot adopt a laissez-faire attitude and think that the outbreak is far away and hence not their problem. When the Ebola epidemic first broke out, the international community did not see the urgency to address the problem, thinking that it was in Africa and not likely to affect them. But the deadly virus has since reached the US earlier this month, not only killing the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the US but also spreading to two nurses who cared for that Ebola patient.

From media reports, it appears that the main reason for the contagion was that the hospital in Dallas, Texas, had failed to correctly diagnose the patient with Ebola and hence the appropriate protective and isolation measures were not immediately taken when he first took ill. Thus, I believe it is imperative for all countries to start ensuring that their hospitals and healthcare workers are adequately trained in correctly diagnosing the disease and implementing the protective measures required in handling Ebola cases. While we do not wish to create any panic, the public should also be educated on the disease and be updated regularly on preventive measures, etc. Finally, all countries must be open, honest and upfront in declaring the true extent of infection should it hit their country.

Ronald Lee
Managing Director
PrimeStaff Management Services Pte Ltd

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